Tag Archive | medieval romance

Never Too Late: A Bluestocking Belles Collection

Eight authors and eight different takes on four dramatic elements selected by our readers—an older heroine, a wise man, a Bible, and a compromising situation that isn’t.

Set in a variety of locations around the world over eight centuries, welcome to the romance of the Bluestocking Belles’ 2017 Holiday and More Anthology.

Special Pre-order Sale just $0.99 

After November 15th: $2.99

We’re still working on the rest of the retailer links but just in case you want to take advantage of our special pre-order price, jump on over to Amazon and order your copy now. The release date for NEVER TOO LATE is November 4th. Remember, 25% of the sales from the Belles’ box sets benefit our mutual charity, The Malala Fund. You, too, can make a difference in the life of a young woman or child by contributing to this worthy cause!

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The Piper’s Lady by Sherry Ewing

True love binds them. Deceit divides them. Will they choose love?
Coira does not regret traveling with her grandfather until she is too old to wed. But perhaps it is not too late? At Berwyck Castle, a dashing knight runs to her rescue. How can she resist?

Garrick can hold his own with the trained Knights of Berwyck, but they think of him as a piper, not a fighter. When his heart sings for the new resident of the castle, he dares to wish he is something he is not. Will failure to clear her misunderstanding doom their love before it begins?

Excerpt

“You saved me,” she whispered in a shaky tone. “You are truly a gallant knight to rescue me. Your liege lord must value you as one of his warriors.”

Warrior? Him? He opened his mouth to correct her assumption but could not find the words. He knew she would think less of him if she but knew he was only the clan’s piper.

“Are ye harmed?” he murmured, still holding the pleasing womanly curves of the lady who had not yet moved from atop him. Her brow rose, and Garrick inwardly cursed knowing there was no way to hide his Scottish accent.

“Nay, but only because of your ability to move so quickly. Thank you, Sir…” She left her sentence linger in the air between them.

“Garrick,” he answered, giving her his name, “of Clan MacLaren.”

“My thanks, Sir Garrick,” she replied with a kind smile.

They seemed to come to the realization the lists had become eerily silent with the exception of one person running in their direction.

“Get your hands off her!” a voice bellowed.

Before either of them could move, the woman was ripped from his arms, and Garrick saw her enveloped in the fierce embrace of Morgan. Her arms wrapped around his neck, and Garrick could not help the feeling of jealousy assaulting his emotions and tugging at his heartstrings.

“Coira! By St. Michael’s Wings you gave me such a fright, woman,” Morgan scolded in concern. Setting her down upon her feet, he proceeded to clasp both her cheeks afore placing kisses on each.

Her Wounded Heart by Nicole Zoltack

An injured knight trespassing on Mary Bennett’s land is a threat to the widow’s
already frail refuge. Even so, she cannot turn away a man in need and tells him he has her husband’s leave to stay until Christmas.

Doran Ward wishes only to survive for one more day. However, as he begins to
heal and to pay for his lodgings by fixing the rundown manor, the wounds to Mistress Bennett’s heart intrigue him.

Can two desperate souls find hope in time for Christmas?

Excerpt 

To her surprise, her guest had laid out a few vegetables, and she set about cutting them without saying a word to him.

At one point, he reached across her for another knife.

She stiffened and jerked back.

“My apologies,” he said. “I did not mean to startle you.”

“Do not touch me,” she said, fear melting into anger in her voice. “My husband is a very strong and angry man. He shall take exception to anyone who dares to touch me.”

“Will he be joining us for dinner?” he asked as if unfazed.

She did not like to lie to him. Lying, after all, was a sin. But she also must protect herself.

“No,” she said shortly. “He already ate and has retired for the evening.”

“So it shall be only the two of us?” He glanced over his shoulder at the chunks of meat he had cooking over the fierce fire.

“Aye. You can brine-cure the meat we do not eat.”

“Very well.” He never did grab the knife but returned to tending to the meat.

Soon enough, she added the vegetables to a pot, along with some of his meat. A short time later, the stew was finished.

The man brought over two bowls. She stared at the wooden spoons in her hands. Her husband had lost their silver in yet another game.

Another sign to alert him that all is not well here.

Head back, she took a deep breath. Matters such as they were, she had no other recourse. As cold as the house was despite fires, she could not imagine anyone surviving the night out of doors. Would her good intentions spell even more doom for herself?

A Year Without Christmas by Jessica Cale 

London, 1645

Edward Rothschild returns home from war defeated in more ways than one. His friends killed and his property seized, he is an earl in name only. His family and his servants have all deserted him– all except his housekeeper, Lillian Virtue.

Lillian feels like home in a way that nothing else does, but as his servant and a recent widow, it would be impossible for them to be together. Then again, Christmas has been banned and the social order fractured; can one more impossible thing happen this year?

Excerpt

Somerton’s smile was like a bolt of lightning, a sudden flash of terrifying intensity that surprised them both. One shot of light across the darkness of his face and it was gone.
Her knees failed her suddenly and Lillian caught herself on the edge of the table just as Somerton reached out to catch her arm. His hand closed around her elbow and sent a shock up her spine.

“Are you well?”

Lillian had always held her master in the highest regard, but some part of her had feared him, as well. It was not only that her position depended upon his good graces, but he had seemed more than human to her. His presence was overwhelming and perhaps otherworldly; he had a spark of the infinite that suggested a link to the Divine. She could have easily taken him for a priest or a saint.

She had known he was objectively handsome; what she had not realized was that she thought he was handsome.

She felt her blush deepen and took a steadying breath. “Quite well, my lord. Forgive me.”
He frowned as he examined her face. “You look peaked. Join me for coffee.”

Somerton wanted her—Lillian Page, no, Virtue—to sip coffee with him in his private bedchamber? It was inappropriate, to say the least, but when she opened her mouth to object, all that came out was, “I only brought one cup.”

The Night of the Feast by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

As a spy deep in the heart of Revolutionary France, Michael St. John hopes to make amends for a wasted life his by helping the citizens of the Vendée stage a counter-revolution.

Jacqueline Archambeau, tavern owner and cook, accepts that life and love have passed her by. She never dreamed she would fight her own countrymen for the right to keep her customs and traditions.

When they plot together to steal plans at a regimental dinner will they risk their lives—and their hearts?

Excerpt 

Bonjour.” The smile on Jacqueline’s face was unexpected, as was the greeting and he found himself returning it.

Until he felt the unmistakable press of a gun barrel at his lower back. It seemed that Madame Jacqueline was not alone.

“Your knife, monsieur.” Jacqueline held out her hand.

Michael obliged, handing the weapon over hilt first.

“So, Jacques is really Jacqueline?” he asked, feeling like the world’s greatest fool.

“And I’ll take any other weapons you might have on your person,” she continued.

He hesitated, and the barrel pressed at his back became silently insistent.

“Please?” she asked as pleasantly as if she had simply asked him to pass the butter.

Michael raised his arms, threaded his fingers, and placed them at the back of his head.

“You’ve completely disarmed me, madam, but you are welcome to check for yourself.”

Hazel eyes clouded with mistrust. Jacqueline glanced to the person behind him as though looking for instruction.

“Who sent you?”

The voice behind him was that of another woman.

Michael gritted his teeth. He would kill Colonel Jeffers when they next met. The man knew his contacts were women and thought it amusing not to tell him. To further his bona fides, Jeffers had even made him memorize the first stanza of a poem, Ode To Him Who Complains, no less, by scandalous poetess Mary Darby Robinson.

The Umbrella Chronicles: George & Dorothea’s Story

by Amy Quinton 

Lord George St. Vincent doesn’t realize it, but his days as a bachelor in good standing are numbered.

He has a fortnight, to be precise—the duration of the Marquess of Dansbury’s house party.

For I, Lady Harriett Ross, have committed to parting with several items of sentimental worth should I fail to orchestrate his downfall—er, betrothal—to Miss Dorothea Wythe, who is delightful, brilliant, and interested (or will be).

If I have anything to say about matters, and I always have something to say about matters, they’re both doomed.

Did I say doomed? I mean, destined—for a life filled with love.

Excerpt 

Without a doubt, he made her breath catch every single time he looked her way, even if only looking past her, which was pretty much all the time and kind of pitiful. But who cared? It was another secret that was all hers.

Besides, she was undoubtedly not the only woman who struggled to breathe in his presence.

Dory clenched her hands into fists and reminded herself for the millionth time that she was more of the glasses and books type (of which there were far too few in the world) than the roguish smile and flirty type (of which far too many abounded). Hence, her easy slide into spinsterhood at the ripe age of thirty-one.

Yes. St. George was blond and slender and solidly built. And he was beautiful, somehow elegantly masculine, and gloriously tall. She wasn’t the only person that understood this. Everyone acknowledged these traits as if they were all a set of facts that could be found in any book on science. Or a math fact, a proven geometrical theorem.

Like the bluestocking she was, Dory imagined writing proofs over the theory of his gentlemanly beauty. Given George St. Vincent is taller than most men. Given St. Vincent has blue eyes the color of the sky and blonde hair the color of wheat. Given George St. Vincent has a blinding smile and broad shoulders. Prove George St. Vincent is the most swoonworthy man in all of England.

Dory chuckled to herself, though she felt on the verge of hysterics.

But all of that didn’t mean he was a worthy man for her affections.

A Malicious Rumor by Susana Ellis

Vauxhall gardener Alice Crocker has had to defend herself from encroaching males all her life, but the new violinist is a different sort. So when she discovers that he is the victim of a malicious rumor, she naturally wants to help.

Peter de Luca greatly admires the lady gardener, but this is his problem to resolve.

What will it take to prove to this pair that they would be stronger together as a harmonious duo than two lonely solos?

Excerpt

Alice found her feet tapping in time to the music of the orchestra rehearsal while she inspected the site for the new illumination, which would honor the new Duke of Wellington after his victory over Bonaparte at the Battle of Paris. If only the designer had included the measurements! It was difficult to decide how to arrange the plantings without some inkling of the space requirements. With luck, the fellow himself would arrive soon, since the spectacle was planned to open the next day.

Miss Stephens must be singing tonight, she thought as she found herself humming the tune of the popular Northumberland ballad about a brave lass who rowed out in a storm to save her shipwrecked sailor beau.

O! merry row, O! merry row the bonnie, bonnie bark,

Bring back my love to calm my woe,

Before the night grows dark.

She liked the idea of a woman rescuing her man instead of the other way around. It might seem romantic to be rescued by a handsome prince, but one could not always be a damsel in distress, could one? Alice knew from her mother’s marriage that there was no happiness or romance in a marriage where one partner held all the power. She herself had no intention of placing herself in the power of any man. She would be responsible to no one but herself—and perhaps her employer, as long as she was permitted to work for a living. She narrowed her eyes. She could work as well as any man, better than some, in fact. Why did so many men feel threatened by that?

Forged in Fire by Jude Knight

Burned in their youth, neither Tad nor Lottie expected to feel the fires of love. The years have soothed the pain, and each has built a comfortable, if not fully satisfying, life, on paths that intersect and then diverge again.

But then the inferno of a volcanic eruption sears away the lies of the past and frees them to forge a future together.

Excerpt

She was nothing to him. He was sorry for her, that was all. As he’d be sorry for anyone stuck in her predicament. She’d be better off staying in New Zealand, where Mrs. Bletherow’s malice couldn’t reach her. There was work in Auckland, in shops and factories. Not that a proper English lady would consider such a thing.

She could do it, though. She wasn’t as meek as she pretended. He’d seen the steel in her, the fire in those pretty hazel eyes.

The word ‘pretty’ put a check in his stride, but it was true. She had lovely eyes. Not a pretty face, precisely. Her cheeks were too thin, her jaw too square, her nose too straight for merely ‘pretty’. But in her own way, she was magnificent. She was not as comfortably curved or as young as the females he used to chase when he was a wild youth, the sort he always thought he preferred. Not as gaudy as them, with their bright dresses and their brighter face paint. But considerably less drab than he had thought at first sight. She was a little brown hen that showed to disadvantage beside the showier feathers of the parrot, but whose feathers were a subtle symphony of shades and patterns. Besides, parrots, in his experience, were selfish, demanding creatures.

 

Roses in Picardy by Caroline Warfield

 After two years at war, Harry is out of metaphors for death, synonyms for brown, and images for darkness. Color among the floating islands of Amiens and life in the form of a widow and her little son surprise him with hope.

Rosemarie Legrand’s husband died, leaving her a tiny son, no money, and a savaged reputation. She struggles to simply feed the boy and has little to offer a lonely soldier.

Excerpt

Are men in Hell happier for a glimpse of Heaven?”

The piercing eyes gentled. “Perhaps not,” the old man said, “but a store of memories might be medicinal in coming months. Will you come back?”

Will I? He turned around to face forward, and the priest poled the boat out of the shallows, seemingly content to allow him his silence.

“How did you arrange my leave?” Harry asked at last, giving voice to a sudden insight.

“Prayer,” the priest said. Several moments later he, added, “And Col. Sutherland in the logistics office has become a friend. I suggested he had a pressing need for someone who could translate requests from villagers.”

“Don’t meddle, old man. Even if they use me, I’ll end up back in the trenches. Visits to Rosemarie Legrand would be futile in any case. The war is no closer to an end than it was two years ago.”

“Despair can be deadly in a soldier, corporal. You must hold on to hope. We all need hope, but to you, it can be life or death,” the priest said.

Life or death. He thought of the feel of the toddler on his shoulder and the colors of les hortillonnages. Life indeed.

The sound of the pole propelling them forward filled several minutes.

“So will you come back?” the old man asked softly. He didn’t appear discomforted by the long silence that followed.

“If I have a chance to come, I won’t be able to stay away,” Harry murmured, keeping his back to the priest.

“Then I will pray you have a chance,” the old man said softly.

Regan Walker: Rebel Warrior

Edgar was the Rightful King

When Edward the Confessor, a gentle, pious king, who left no direct heirs, died on January 5, 1066, there were several candidates to become King of England in his place. One thing to keep in mind: under English law, no one, not even the king, could promise the crown to anyone. That was for the Witan, a council of nobles and spiritual leaders, to decide. What was the Witan to do?

Bayeux Tapestry: King Edward the Confessor Talks to Earl Harold

Bayeux Tapestry: King Edward the Confessor Talks to Earl Harold

In England, Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, wanted the job. But he was only Edward’s brother-in-law. Harold claimed Edward had given the throne to him on his deathbed. And so he might have done, even though he was thought to have murdered Edward’s brother.

Harald Hardrada King of Norway

Harald Hardrada King of Norway

In Norway, King Harald Hardrada had inherited land in England from King Canute who had once been King of England. Hardrada believed this meant he had a claim to be the King of England. Well, why not? After all, he was supported by Tostig, Harold of Wessex’s brother and Hardrada was already the powerful King of Norway. And he was planning to take England by force if he must.

King Sweyn of Denmark

King Sweyn of Denmark

There was another Scandinavian king who had a claim to the throne, too. King Sweyn of Denmark’s uncle had been Canute the Great, King of England, Denmark and Norway. Canute was ruling England when Edward took over. But Sweyn waited until Hardrada was defeated in his claim, then took his time to rally his hundreds of longships and fighting men. The Danes did not arrive in England until 1069, but more about that in my novel, Rogue Knight.

William the Conqueror Arriving in England

William the Conqueror Arriving in England

Meanwhile, across the English Channel lay Normandy and William, the bastard son of Robert, Duke of Normandy. William, now the duke, was Edward’s first cousin’s son. Seems a stretch to me, but this guy had ambition. And he had already demonstrated he was ruthless in battle. Besides all that, he told some tale about Edward having promised him the crown of England. But it seems Edward promised the crown to many, so what was that? William also claimed that Harold of Wessex had vowed to help him become king one day. Not sure about that and neither are the historians but then William’s folks wrote most of the history so there you have it.

As his father’s heir and now Duke of Normandy, William was used to ruling a large land. Why not more? So, William the Bastard planned to invade England just like Harald Hardrada. The plot thickens.

So what happened? The Witan named Harold of Wessex king. But we all know what happened to him…

Harald Hardrada invaded the north of England. King Harold fought him off. Weakened by the battle they’d just fought, Harold’s men trudged south to meet William the Bastard at Hastings where his men were storming ashore from Normandy. In a daylong battle, Harold was killed.

But one claimant to the throne of England remained… an heir of Edward’s. Indeed, Edgar Ætheling was the rightful heir to the throne. “Ætheling” is an Old English term used in Anglo-Saxon England to designate the princes of the royal dynasty eligible for the kingship. And so Edgar was. His father, Edmund Ironside, was King Edward’s half brother until he was killed, some say by poisoning. Unfortunately, when King Edward died, Edgar was only 14 or 15, a bit young to be leading soldiers and fighting off contenders for the crown.

Nevertheless, upon King Harold’s death, Edgar was named king, but he was never crowned because William the Bastard, earning his name as “the Conqueror”, moved in and took over.

Although Edgar had many supporters and, in 1069, joined with the Danes and the rebels in Yorkshire in a bid to reclaim England, through a series of fiascos, their fight was unsuccessful.

Edgar, his mother and two sisters fled to Scotland where King Malcolm welcomed them. And that is where Edgar enters my newest medieval romance, Rebel Warrior, set in Scotland in 1072.

Malcolm welcoming Edgar

Malcolm welcoming Edgar to Scotland

By then, Edgar was 21 and though the rightful king, he would be denied his legacy. But one day his family would regain the throne in a manner of speaking. Edgar’s niece, Edith, daughter of Edgar’s sister Margaret who married the King of Scots, would become Queen of England, marrying Henry I.

If you want to see Edgar and his beautiful sister Margaret in Scotland, you will have to read Rebel Warrior!

ReganWalker_RebelWarrior_800 copy

 

“Master storytelling transports you to medieval Scotland!”

Paula Quinn, NY Times Bestselling Author

About Rebel Warrior

When your destiny lies far from where you began…

Scotland 1072

The Norman Conqueror robbed Steinar of Talisand of his noble father and his lands, forcing him to flee to Scotland while still recovering from a devastating wound. At the royal court, Steinar becomes scribe to the unlettered King of Scots while secretly regaining his skill with a sword.

The first time Steinar glimpses the flame-haired maiden, Catrìona of the Vale of Leven, he is drawn to her spirited beauty. She does not fit among the ladies who serve the devout queen. Not pious, not obedient and not given to stitchery, the firebrand flies a falcon! Though Catrìona captures Steinar’s attention, he is only a scribe and she is promised to another.

Catrìona has come to Malcolm’s court wounded in spirit from the vicious attack on her home by Northmen who slayed her parents and her people. But that is not all she will suffer. The man she thought to wed will soon betray her.

When all is lost, what hope is there for love? Can a broken heart be mended? Can a damaged soul be healed?

Rebel Warrior on Amazon:

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About the Author

Regan Walker profile pic 2014 copyRegan Walker is an award-winning, #1 bestselling, multi-published author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romance. She has five times been featured on USA TODAY’s HEA blog and twice nominated for the prestigious RONE award (her novel, The Red Wolf’s Prize won Best Historical Novel for 2015 in the medieval category). Regan writes historically authentic novels with real history and real historic figures where her readers experience history, adventure and love.

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Sherry Ewing: Hearts Across Time Box Set (Giveaway)

I’d like to thank Susana for allowing me the opportunity to showcase my first box set. I’m Sherry Ewing and I write historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time.

Today I’d like to tell you about this special edition box set entitled Hearts Across Time: The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time Novel (Books One & Two) that released April 17, 2016. It contains my full-length novels For All of Ever and Only For You. Katherine and Riorden just happen to be my favorite characters I’ve created so far.

Attachment-1Originally, I had no plans to write a time travel. In fact, after I had finished my debut medieval romance, If My Heart Could See You (which is a free eBook by the way), I had every intention of writing about the youngest sister Lynet (A Knight To Call My Own). If you’re a writer, then you know how our characters have a mind of their own and will tell you the direction their lives will go. If you’re a reader, well…let me tell you its true…authors really do have voices inside their heads!

So Katherine and Riorden were “born,” so to speak, along with Katherine’s thee other friends who slipped through time in a turret at Bamburgh castle. I had so much fun writing these books that it spun a whole series and the next book, To Follow My Heart, will release this summer. I continue to be amazed at the amount of research that is available to authors these days and if you haven’t visited Bamburgh’s site, and love castles, don’t miss out! It’s very interactive with a video fly by, rooms to see, and lots of historical information on its origins dating back to its first recorded history in 547AD. And if that’s not enough, be sure to open some of the books in the “library”.

I’d like to show of a painting that a friend of my daughter, Kimberly King, did for me. Originally it was going to be my cover but timing being what it was for the both of us, it just didn’t work out. But I still wanted to have this beautiful piece a part of my book so I put it on the back cover of the print version. Kim took everything I wanted to depict a scene where Katherine see’s Riorden in a painting for the very first time when she at last learns his name. It’s still one of my favorite scenes in the book.

Since Susana and I are part of the Bluestocking Belles, I’d like to do a giveaway of my upcoming release Under the Mistletoe, that was originally part of the Belles’ box set Mistletoe, Marriage, & Mayhem. It will be available for just $0.99 on May 8th.

For a chance to win an eCopy of Under the Mistletoe, tell me the first historical romance you ever read and why it’s stuck with you all these years. I’ll choose a random comment as the winner.

About Hearts Across Time: The Knights of Berwick, A Quest Through Time Novel (Books One & Two)

Sometimes all you need is to just believe…

For All of Ever: Katherine Wakefield has dreamed and written of her knight in shining armor all her life. Yet, how could she have known that when she and her three closest friends take a dream vacation to England that they’d find themselves thrown back more than eight hundred years into the past? Riorden de Deveraux travels to Bamburgh answering the summons of King Henry II. But nothing prepares him for the beautiful vision of a strangely clad ghost who first appears in his chamber. Centuries are keeping them apart until Time gives them a chance at finding love. Will the past of one consume what their future may hold, or will Time take the decision from them and hurdle Katherine forward to where she truly belongs?

Only For You: Katherine de Deveraux has it all but settling into her duties at Warkworth Castle is not easy and downright dangerous to her well-being. Consumed with memories of his father, Riorden must deal with his sire’s widow. Yet how could he know how far Marguerite will go to have the life she feels they were meant to live? Torn apart, Time becomes their true enemy while Marguerite continues her ploy to keep Riorden at her side. With all hope lost, will Katherine & Riorden find a way to save their marriage?

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Excerpt

She needed fresh air…that’s what she needed. Turning into the Great Hall to catch up with her friends, she found herself riveted to the floor. Even if she’d wanted to move, she couldn’t have. Hardly believing what she was seeing, she became mesmerized when the tourists milling around the chamber slowly vanished before her eyes.

box set pic from FBOnly one man was left standing at the far end of the room, or rather, one knight. He had been reaching for something on a table when Katherine saw his shoulders flinch. His red cape swirled around his legs when he turned to face her. Their eyes locked and Katherine’s breath left her at the intensity reflected in his face. Shock, intermingled with excitement, rushed through her. Her whole body began to tingle. Good God, it’s him! Her mind screamed. He stood there with such a commanding presence about him that she had no recourse but to move in his direction.

Inch by inch, the distance between them lessened as he, too, moved swiftly across the floor. Her arm extended, she reached for him, and yet their meeting was not to be. He quickly vanished, passing right through her. Her body lurched from the contact when the wispy vapor that had been him disintegrated upon their meeting. A soft cry of distress escaped her lips. How could fate be so cruel as to take him from her before they could speak even one word together?

Modern surroundings returned, and Katherine became disorientated when she was rudely bumped by some jerk, who didn’t even mutter an apology. She swiveled around, trying to see if her knight was maybe still lurking in the hall, but there was no trace of him.

She had taken no more than a few short steps, when a voice whispered inside her head. Katherine…come back to me, my love.

sherryAbout the Author

Sherry Ewing picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical & time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. Always wanting to write a novel but busy raising her children, she finally took the plunge in 2008 and wrote her first Regency. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, The Beau Monde & The Bluestocking Belles. Sherry is currently working on her next novel and when not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist.

Sherry enjoys interacting with her readers.

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Sherry Ewing: A Knight To Call My Own

A Knight to Call my own cover

About A Knight To Call My Own

When your heart is broken, is love still worth the risk?

Lynet of Clan MacLaren knows how it feels to love someone and not have that love returned. After waiting for six long years, she has given up hope of Ian’s return. Her brother-in-law, the Devil’s Dragon of Berwyck, is tired of waiting for her to choose a husband and has decided a competition for the right to wed Lynet is just the thing his willful charge needs to force her hand.

Ian MacGillivray has returned to Berwyck Castle in search of a bride and who better than the young girl who cared for him all those years ago. But Lynet is anything but an easy conquest and he will need more than charm to win her hand in marriage.

From the English borders to the Highlands of Scotland, the chase is on for who will claim the fair Lynet. The price paid will indeed be high to ensure her safety and even higher to win her love.

Don’t miss out on Sherry’s other novels: If My Heart Could See You, a medieval romance and the beginning of her series; For All of Ever: The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time Novel (a medieval time travel romance) and Only For You, its sequel.

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Excerpt

About the Author

sherrySherry Ewing picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical & time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. Always wanting to write a novel but busy raising her children, she finally took the plunge in 2008 and wrote her first Regency. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, The Beau Monde & The Bluestocking Belles. Sherry is currently working on her next novel and when not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist. You can learn more about Sherry and her published work at www.SherryEwing.com.

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Marisa Dillon: The Lady of the Garter

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARISA!

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Marisa Dillon will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Click here for the Rafflecopter. Click on the banner above to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning.

Interview with Marisa Dillon

Susana: How did you come up with the idea for this book?

Marisa Riding copyMarisa: The inspiration for the story came to me after a trip I took back in time one autumn afternoon. I live in Ohio, and we have one of the largest and most authentic Renaissance Festivals in the country.

I even dressed the part and took a ride on a warhorse. I was inspired by what I saw. The jousting reenactments, danger, romance, chivalry, comedy, comradery. It was all there and I wanted to write a story about that world.

Susana: Tell us more about the real history in this story?

Marisa: I love the idea of chivalry and romance mingling together. In the late 15th century, the notion of the knight in shining armor was not a fantasy, but a reality (if history doesn’t lie).  And as a lover of history and romance, I couldn’t resist researching and then writing about a group of knights who have been revered and served the English monarchy for generations. The Most Noble Order of the Garter was founded by King Edward III in 1348, holds the highest order of chivalry, and is the most prestigious group in service to England.

Price William Orde of the Garter copyEven Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, serves as a Garter Knight today.

As a homage to King Edward, I named the squire, who becomes a knight in my story, after the Garter’s founder, but there’s more to my squire than meets the eye.

Susana:  Many readers enjoy a historical romances. What kind of research did you do?

Marisa: Well, as much as I like to think watching jousting matches at the Ren Fair would help me write a story that featured knights in tournaments, I realized early on, that I’d need to do something more in-depth.

Knights at Tournament copyI was surprised to find that the Ren Fair had a book kiosk and stumbled upon a book called “Knights at Tournament,” by Christopher Gravatt.

This resource was indispensable. I also interviewed a man who travels the country working as a jousting knight on the Ren Fair circuit and on the TV show, “Full Metal Jousting.”

He told me what it felt like to be struck by a lance and how it impacted his body, liking putting him bed for a few days to recover after one brutal hit.

Full-metal-jousting copy

Also, when it came to getting details about the 15th Century. I had these three books at my fingertips. These resources helped me paint my pictures of medieval life and they also ensured my descriptions were accurate.

Research book

The Lady in Medieval England 1000-1500 copy

Life in a Medieval Castle

Words like bailey, porticus were imperative for the story to describe places in the castle. I also needed to know what period items of clothing were called in that era. A hauberk of chain mail and a houppelande gown, were items I described my characters wearing, helping to provide authenticity and provoke visual imagines for the reader.

About The Lady of the Garter

When Henry VII takes the throne, not all are loyal to the new king. Garter knight, Sir James, is charged with bringing dissenters to justice. Determined to fulfill his vows, he’s unprepared for Lady Elena, a girl from his past he’s never forgotten.

Lady Elena defies her family and disguises herself as a squire to reunite with the man she’s always loved. She might be able to wield a sword, but she still possesses a woman’s heart.

Thrust into a world of danger and family rivalry, James and Elena face the ultimate test.

Can James avenge his father’s death and find passion, or will his Garter oaths hold him to a life of service without love?

Amazon

Excerpt

Cover_TheLadyOfTheGarter copyElena had prayed that James would rescue her, but not at the price he paid. How would she ever make this right? First, she’d lost his trust. Now he lost Dragon because of her carelessness. She fully expected to be escorted back to Warwickshire after they returned to Nunnery. She hoped it would be with anyone but James or she wouldn’t survive it.

“God’s blood, woman, who do you think you are?” His deep, powerful voice made her cringe.

She couldn’t answer.

He sighed, steering the horse underneath some trees. Then he turned so abruptly, she thought he’d strike her.

“Are you daft, woman?”

She covered her face with both hands.

“You’re not ready to be a knight, Elena. Look at me.” He drew her hands away. “You’ve sworn allegiance to me, but you constantly disobey.” His eyebrows knit together. “You’ve begged for guidance, yet refuse to follow my instructions.” He shook his head. “You speak of courage, yet don’t show any. Did you not consider the consequences when you lied your way into my life? You’re selfish and don’t consider the future. The ability to sacrifice for the good of others is what qualifies a man for knighthood. Your heart is unworthy.”

But her heart was worthy. Perhaps not for knighthood, but for love. His love. And that seemed more important to her now. Although his criticism hurt, she knew he cared about her. His eyes showed it. She kissed him, her quivering lips met his. It was the only answer she could give. She needed to sate her unbridled passion. She wanted him. She wanted this. It might be her only chance before he came to his senses.

He responded, embracing her.

When he finally released her, she whimpered and leaned into him, wanting more.

He gazed into her eyes. Why had he stopped?

About the Author

With a degree in journalism, Marisa has spent many years writing for the television industry. As an award-winning producer/director/marketer, she has worked on commercial production, show creation, product branding and social media.

Marisa’s passion for writing began when her first-grade teacher read her poem aloud and posted it on the classroom wall. She soon followed up by writing plays for her neighborhood friends and hosting the productions in her garage.

Marisa has always enjoyed reading romance novels and now realizes a dream come true, writing romantic adventures. She lives in Kettering, Ohio, with her first love and knight in shining armor, James.

You can visit Marisa at: www.marisadillon.com. And you can connect with Marisa on Facebook.com/pages/Marisa-Dillon and Twitter.com/marisadillon.

Louise Lyndon: Love and Vengeance

NBTM_TourBanner_OfLoveAndVengeance copy

Louise will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Click here for the Rafflecopter. Click the banner above to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning.

Interview With Louise Lyndon

Susana: What advice would you give to writers just starting out?

Louise: Write. Then write some more. Do not stop after the first rejection – remember, they are rejecting your story, not you as a writer. Enter competitions for feedback. Choose a competition with an editor of a publisher you’re interested in submitting work to. Don’t bombard yourself with reading ‘how to write’ books. I have one or two – and to be honest, I have only read one of them. But just keep writing. This is the only way you’re going to improve on your craft.

Susana: What comes first: the plot or the characters?

Louise: For me, characters. Rather, they come to me in a snippet of a scene. I’ll play that scene over and over in my head and then I’ll write it. Now, that scene is just a random scene. Usually I know nothing else other than that scene. Then I start to think about the characters in the scene. Who are they? Where did they come from? What are they doing there? It builds from there.

Susana: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Louise: Oh, I’m a panster. I mentioned earlier that I’ll have a random scene pop into my head and then build the characters from there that is how I build the plot. I’ll ask myself, what happened in the scene prior to this one to get them to this point? I do a lot of my writing working backward.

Susana: Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.

Louise: My newest release, Of Love and Vengeance, is about a few things really. Firstly, it’s about prejudices, mainly about how we can tar an entire group by either misconceptions or by the behavior of a few. Both the hero and heroine are guilty of doing this, so we get to see how they deal with this. It’s also about acceptance, not just of each other, but of yourself as well. Laila, the heroine has a birthmark that covers one side of her face, and she really struggles with loving herself because of it. So we also see how she learns to love herself.

Susana: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Louise: I always wanted to be an audio engineer. You know, one of those people who sets up all the audio equipment at concerts and in recording studies. When I was seventeen I took a course in audio engineering, because from as long as I could remember that was what I wanted to do. I got my qualifications and then realized that perhaps it wasn’t what I wanted to be after all!

Susana: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?

Louise: I love doing obstacle races like Spartan, and Tough Mudder. To look at me you wouldn’t think so. I refer to myself as a Rueben’s woman (curvy and plump!) and I do not look as if I am into exercise. I always like to put on make-up and straighten my hair (I love my InStyler), I’m a bit of a girly girl. So, the last place you’d expect to find me is shoulder deep in stinky, sticky mud, crawling under barbed wire, hoisting myself up a rope, and climbing over 12 foot walls. My sister doesn’t believe it and she’s seen the photos!

Susana: What would we find under your bed?

Louise: I’m afraid to look to be honest! But, the last time I did work up the courage to look I found an old pair of ASICS trainers I no longer wear, and empty shoe box, which I should have put the old trainers in, and a recipe book for my nutribullet.

Susana: Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

Louise: I have two. 1/ Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it. 2/ Bang on enough doors and one is bound to open.

Susana: Every writer dreams of getting “the call.” What were you doing when yours came? Who got to hear the good news first?

Louise: My “call” came in the form of an email. I remember it clearly. It was May 17, 7.59am (I remember the time exactly because I was on my way into the office and I checked the time on my phone) and before heading into the building where I work I quickly checked my emails. There was an email from The Wild Rose Press, and I thought it was going to be a rejection. I stopped reading after the first sentence… I have finished reviewing the manuscript, Of Love and Vengeance.  I’d like to offer you a contract. I must had re-read that sentence at least ten times. Then I called my sister, who thought someone must have died because why else would I be ringing her so early!

Susana: What is the one modern convenience you can’t do without?

Louise: Anything electrical! But mainly my microwave, Instyler, and laptop. Not necessarily in that order.

About Of Love and Vengeance

Forced to marry Lord Aymon to ensure her young nephew’s survival, English Lady Laila vows undying hatred for the Norman she holds responsible for the deaths of so many innocents. Discovering Aymon has committed an act of treason gives her the chance to seek vengeance he deserves. But can Laila let Aymon die at the hands of the king once she learns the truth?

A hardened Norman warrior, Lord Aymon has lived through atrocities no man ever should. With the invasion of England over, all he wants is a quiet life and a wife who will give him heirs and obey his every command. Instead, he finds himself wed to feisty and outspoken Laila. But when she learns the truth of his treasonous act, can Aymon count on her to keep his secret?

AmazonBarnes & Noble Wild Rose Publishing

Excerpt

Aymon caught a flicker of movement from a window on the second story. “I think we’re about to meet the welcome party.” An arrow zoomed toward him and landed on the pommel of his saddle. A half an inch closer and he would no longer be able to sire children. As if in demonstration of his ability with the bow and arrow, the shooter fired again. This time directed toward Hugh. The second arrow too came within a half an inch of his friend’s manhood.

Cover_OfLoveandVengeance copy“You missed!” Aymon called toward the shooter. He questioned his stupidity for mocking someone with such a good aim.

“You want me to show you how good an aim I really am?” a woman’s voice echoed out across the yard.

“Bloody hell,” Hugh half cursed, half laughed. “Where does a woman learn to shoot like that?”

Aymon was shocked and admittedly a little impressed a woman had such remarkable shooting skills. He could use such a sharp shooter on his side in battle. After all, it was better to have someone so skilled firing for you than at you.

Aymon raised his black leather gloved hand in surrender. “No. I’m firmly attached to my balls, thank you very much.”

“Who are you?” the shooter demanded. “And what do you want? There is nothing of value here for you to steal. Be on your way, man, and leave me in peace.”

“Some would say a female is of value,” Aymon drawled sardonically.

A second arrow lodged firmly on the pommel between his legs.

“I do not give third chances. I’ll give you to the count of three to leave. Or else you will find an arrow straight through your heart.”

Aymon’s warhorse whinnied, and he fought to control the beast whose temperament was as black as his coat. “Put down your weapon!”

“One!”

“We mean you no harm!”

“Two!”

“I am Lord Aymon, and this is Lord Hugh. I’ve come to claim what is rightfully mine.”

Silence.

The two men looked at one another unsure what to do. “Should we storm the building and lay claim to what is yours?”

Aymon shook his head. He dismounted but never took his eyes from the door to the manor.

“She will soon make her appearance.”

Hugh, too, dismounted. “How can you be so sure?”

Aymon looked at his friend. “We do not have arrows through our hearts.”

About the Author

AuthorPic_OfLoveAndVengeance copyLouise grew up in country Victoria, Australia, before moving to England, where for sixteen years she soaked up the vibrancy of London and the medieval history of England. She has since returned to Australia and now lives in Melbourne.

She has been writing the moment she picked up a copy of Diana Gabaldon’s first Outlander novel twenty something years ago. She thought to herself, ‘this is what I want to do’ – not travel back in time, but become a novelist! She has always had snippets of dialogue and scenes floating around in her head with characters screaming at her to bring them to life.

In 2013, Louise won first prize in the Crested Butte Sandy Writing contest – Historical category for her story, The Promise, which is now called, Of Love and Vengeance.

When not writing, she can be found covered in mud, crawling under barbed wire and hoisting herself over twelve foot walls – under the guise of competing in Spartan races all over Australia.

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Barbara Bettis: The Heart of the Phoenix

giveaway

One lucky commenter will win an e-copy of The Heart of the Phoenix . All comments also qualify as entries for Susana’s September Giveaway, a necklace from London’s National Gallery (see photo at right).

About The Heart of the Phoenix

Some call him a ruthless mercenary; she calls him the knight of her heart.

Memories

Lady Evelynn’s childhood hero is home—bitter, hard, tempting as sin. And haunted by secrets. A now-grown Evie offers friendship, but Sir Stephen’s cruel rejection crushes her, and she resolves to forget him. Yet when an unexpected war throws them together, she finds love isn’t so easy to dismiss. If only the king hadn’t betrothed her to another.

Can Be Cruel

Sir Stephen lives a double life while he seeks the treacherous outlaws who murdered his friends. Driven by revenge he thinks his heart is closed to love. His childhood shadow, Lady Evie, unexpectedly challenges that belief. He rebuffs her, but he can’t forget her, although he knows she’s to wed the king’s favorite.

And Deadly

When his drive for vengeance leads to Evie’s kidnapping, Stephen must choose between retribution and the loved he’s denied too long. Surely King John will see reason. Convict the murderers; convince the king. Simple. Until a startling revelation threatens everything.

AmazonThe Wild Rose Press

Excerpt

Evie could tell Stephen was angry now by the way he glowered and roared in that whispery sort of way no one else could hear, but left her with no doubt of his displeasure.

THOP COVER copy“Your betrothed.” He bent and scooped her off the floor.

“What? What about him?”

“That’s the identity of the illustrious lord who’s sharing passage with us.”

“You’re drunk. And put me down. I’m perfectly capable of getting up on my own.”

“Be quiet. You have blood on your leg.”

“Of course I do. I tripped and fell trying to answer your pounding when you could easily have opened—” His words finally penetrated her throbbing head. “I’m bleeding?”

Oh, blast. The contents of her—empty—stomach churned. She attended the villagers’ hurts, bound the cuts and scrapes of servants and their children. The sight of their blood bothered her not a whit. But her own? Black spots danced at the corners of her vision, becoming larger and larger until she heard Stephen’s voice.

“Evie, Evie. What the hell?”

His voice echoed so far away. If she didn’t know better, she’d vow he sounded alarmed. Perhaps she’d close her eyes for a moment. As the ringing in her ears crescendoed, she recalled his words. Betrothed.

Her betrothed was on board?

Dear Lord, just let me die.

About the Author

Barb-4Award winning author Barbara Bettis has always loved history and English. As a college freshman, she briefly considered becoming an archeologist until she realized there likely would be bugs and snakes involved. And math.

She now lives in Missouri, where by day she’s a mild-mannered English teacher, and by night she’s an intrepid plotter of tales featuring heroines to die for—and heroes to live for.

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Historical Tidbit: Dover

Most of us are used to reading of Dover as the port closest to the continent and the one used most frequently. However, in the Middle Ages, it wasn’t always the port of choice. When King John left Normandy for England where he was to be crowned on Ascension Thursday, 1199, he landed at Shoreham on the country’s southern coast. Evidently, Shoreham was a popular port during those years. According to one source, one of the first things John did when he landed in Shoreham two days before his coronation was visit the church of St. Nicholas.

Here’s a modern photo of St. Nicholas’ Church, although one can see some of the medieval touches at the top.

St_Nicolas'_Church,_Old_Shoreham,_West_Sussex copy